Nuno Espirito Santo has spoken of feeling ‘the warmth’ of his family after reuniting with his loved ones during the international break following three months apart.
The Covid-19 travelling restrictions between the UK and Portugal have kept several of Wolves’ staff and players apart from their families since the start of the third national lockdown, but with a three week gap between Wolves’ last Premier League match against Liverpool, and Monday evening’s fixture with West Ham United, it has allowed Nuno and his staff to head back to their homeland.
On long-term effects of Covid
“It’s not ever going to be the same. The normality that we had, it’s not going to be the same. There will be many questions that will require answers that nobody can give.
“We faced a long period without being able to visit our own countries, we work here and we are delighted to, but when we joined Wolves, we always have this space that if we had a couple of days off, we take a flight and go and make a quick visit, a kiss to your daughters, and then you come back.
“Now, it’s not possible, but then it’s up to each one of us to decide how we want to live.”
On finally seeing his family
“Not with the circumstances that we all wish, but I had the chance to be with my family. It was good for me, for them and for everybody.
“Us as a family, we needed time together. It has been two or three months. It was a long period without this warmth.
“Everybody realises [staff and players haven’t seen family], I don’t think they are forgotten, but we have to understand that it’s not our fault.
“We have to deal with the rules, to be compliant with the protocols, testing, the visits of the police, everything has changed; our freedom, the way we visit the community has changed, so we try to adapt. Family has to adapt, and some things have to change.”
On missing supporters
“I think everybody has felt that. It’s what football is about, it’s for the fans to enjoy in the stadium. To boo, to enjoy, to sing, to have some beers – this is football. Without that part, none of us are enjoying it like we did before.
“But all of us will have a challenge when the fans return, us as professionals, we have to deliver and deliver good football, good games that the fans enjoy. Referees will have a big challenge ahead of them. Black Live Matter will have a big challenge – how long will we be with our knee?
“Things that fans will bring to the stadium will challenge everybody.”
On Neto’s impressive performances
“I believe everybody inside of the squad is ‘normal’. Now, Pedro is in an important moment of his growing process as a player because he plays many games with us, he’s involved in the national team.
“Now, Portugal is in the top ranking of national teams in the world, so that tells you just how good you need to be to just join that squad. Pedro is deserving of his chances and I think he is taking them and it’s improving him.
“But he cannot change as a person, that would be a mistake. I think that he has his feet well on the ground and knows he still has a long way to go.”
On loan players ‘proving’ themselves
“I don’t look at things like that. None of our players that are on loan have to prove anything to me or to anyone. They are here because they are options and they are solutions for this season.
“In the end of the season we will decide, like we always did. I tell them personally, the worst mistake you can make is to try to prove something because that is going to change your game, and this is not what we want. We want a player playing for the team, not for himself.
“We don’t just want them to continue, we want them to improve, but improve inside of the team, like all of us have to do.”